Valentine's Day can also be a good time to bury the hatchet with your sweetie and put any unresolved issues behind you. James Tamm, a mediator and former judge, has applied his workplace tips from his book "Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships" to the bedroom. The key, Tamm says, is to focus on collaboration, even when arguing.
Here are his communications tips for lovers.
Go first. This is not about who makes the first concession in an argument. It's about who makes the first effort to open up a dialogue.
Pay attention to responses. Everything you and your mate say and do, as well as everything you don't say and do, sends a message.
Forgive quickly. Be open and receptive to opportunities to cooperate and move on.
Be firm and flexible. Be firm about getting your needs met, but be flexible when it comes to how you get them met.
Always look for mutual gains. If one partner takes action that benefits the other partner, it sends a positive message about the value of a long-term relationship.
Take advantage of complementary interests. If your interests aren't mutual, try to have your interests dovetail. For example, if a regular night out with your friends is nonnegotiable, schedule it on a night when your partner is also busy.
Put as much energy into solving his/her problem as you do your own. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it's key to collaborating. Your partner will sense your caring and concern, and that goes a long way.
Review your successes. Talk about ways you've found great solutions in the past.